Those of you who have followed Vintage for awhile may know me, however some of you may not. I broke out in 2008 when I took 5th place at Vintage Champs with Drain Tendrils at the first event after the “big blue” restriction. After piloting numerous combo decks over the years I developed the RUG Delver deck that was tearing it up in the summer of 2012, and I wrote a report about my run with the deck at GenCon 2012, as well as a RUG Delver Primer last year.
In the past year, I’ve had several subjects I wanted to write about, but none of them were really engaging enough to warrant my time…until now. Another GenCon is in the books, and I’d like to take a slightly different approach to a tournament report. I played in three vintage tournaments and one M14 sealed event, but that wasn’t really what made GenCon 2013 a great time. Once you understand how my whole trip went, including the shenanigans, tomfoolery, and devastating plays, you’ll understand why GenCon truly is the best 4 days in gaming.
On Wednesday around 2pm I head out to Indy from Wisconsin tagging along with Eric Powell (Co-Owner of Xtreme Games). There’s nothing really exciting about the drive, other than some texts that fly between myself and folks including David Williams, Danny Friedman, and Chris Bergeson (Oneiros Alters; the man who altered my Power into Japanese language; check him out on Facebook). We arrive and check in, and go to get our badges, which luckily took about 5 minutes (pro tip: for GenCon badges either have yours mailed directly to you, or show up really late at night to pick it up; don’t do morning or afternoon or you’ll be stuck in line for hours). From here, I hit the hotel gym for a quick workout, then showered and headed over to Ike & Jonesy’s to meet up with about 8 people from Team Serious, Kevin Cron, and a few others. I ran into some Milwaukee locals I know as well, where I got to watch one of my friends feebly hit on a really cute girl. I left early, which was unfortunate after JR told me that once the friend (who asked to remain nameless; we’ll give him the codename “Homer”) noticed Mark Herberholz, he almost immediately blew off the sexy tatooed chick and started spitting game to Heezy. Homer is an obnoxious and hilarious drunk.
On Thursday, I knew a lot of people would be playing a Pyromancer deck, but I really wanted to try RUG Delver again. I guessed that Pyromancer was probably better than Tarmogoyf in this metagame and is also better against opposing Pyromancers, so I decided to build the following after playing roughly 5 games with Danny Friedman, all of which I won in convincing fashion.
Pairings go up and I’m still sitting with Danny, joking that we’ll probably have to play each other. Pairings go up, and we do.
Round 1 vs. Danny Friedman with Pyromancer Confidant UBR
I am able to Grapeshot his board away and crush him easily. It wasn’t close.
I stabilize on board and destroy his Jace. We’re going back and forth, but unfortunately for me, he has a Pyromancer in play and has 2 cards in hand. He draws for turn, and plays Black Lotus into Yawgmoth’s Will. I Force it, and he has Mana Drain. Thankfully, even though he has five Drain mana and Skullclamp in play, he misses about 7 Young Pyromancer triggers. Unfortunately for me though, even terrible plays don’t matter when Yawgmoth’s Will resolves, and he ends up playing Jace and passing with an almost full grip. He then remembers Pyromancer triggers going forward and beats me.
We go back and forth and I am trying to draw the game out, as he has an Ingot Chewer and I have a lonely Izzet Staticaster. He Lighnting Bolts it and follows up with a Confidant. I have a Bolt of my own, but his Misstep answers it, and he soon flips a Lotus, and again has Yawgmoth’s Will to replay a Time Walk, Ancestral, some mana, and Jace. In this game Danny missed a cool line of play to Jace-bounce his own Snapcaster Mage to Grapeshot me for the quick win. But he is still able to grind me out in turns. He’s my friend, but after about 9 mistakes on his part and still winning I was a bit salty about this match. Losing when your opponent sends in the punt team on first and goal is irritating.
Round 2 vs Richard Johnson with RUG Landstill
I don’t remember much from this game, but I win. I believe I was able to grind him away with a Vendilion Clique.
He destroys my mana base, and I die with no permanents on board. He has a Standstill, 2 Wastelands, a Strip Mine, and still cast Ancestral Recall. It was awkward.
He wastes my lone Tropical Island, and I never find another blue mana source. He eventually goes on to ultimate Jace against me, being the first one to do so against me playing RUG Delver.
0-2, 2-4; DROP
I meet up with most of the Team Serious guys in The Alexander (hotel) which felt like 90 miles away compared to my hotel (but was actually 5 blocks away). The party gets pretty rowdy with JR Goldman and Jimmy McCarthy (who aren’t playing magic and are just hanging out and trying new games this weekend), Jordi Amat (piZZero), Jason Jaco (JACO), Kevin Chron (CHA1N5), Anthony “Twaun” Michaels (Twaun007), Sam Krohlow (SillySam71), and some others I may be forgetting. Sam is playing Doomsday and just getting obliterated by Jordi’s Workshop deck, and Twaun is building his TwaunShops deck. After he’s done I sit down and get to work building Burning Long. I decided that when my opponent goes “Land, Mox, Pyromancer”, I want to respond with “Land, Mox, Oath, LOLZ good luck.” Kevin, JR, and Jimmy give some input, and I play some games with Jordi to test. While losing all games on the draw, I only lose one game on the play when I point out that Staff of Nin locks out my Orchard Tokens. I am okay with that, and roll into Friday’s Vintage for Uncut Sheet of Antiquities tournament with this beast:
Round 1 vs. Raphael Puleo (Bazaar of Moxen organizer from France) with BUG Fish
I go all in with a Lion’s Eye Diamond into Burning Wish, and he Forces the Burning Wish. I’m not too scared, and keep drawing bombs off the top, and eventually land an Oath of Druids when he has a Dark Confidant and a Spirit token on board. He draws, attacks me to 4, and plays a Deathrite Shaman. I land Griselbrand, but my life is low, facing down a Confidant and a Deathrite Shaman, as well as an Orchard spirit. He has no way to remove Griselbrand though, and I end up turning Griselbrand sideways twice to win and eke this out since the lifelink gets me out of range of a counterswing and Deathrite activations.
He smashes me with a well-timed Null Rod and Snapcasting back a ton of counters and disruption. I die with Griselbrand in my hand.
After throwing some bombs out that are countered, I’m eventually able to Burning Wish for Yawgmoth’s Will, and on the next turn Duress him, but he has Snapcaster, Force, and Flusterstorm. I took the Force since it’s unlikely he can Snapcast it, and he didn’t have mana to Snapcaster and Flusterstorm on the same turn yet. He draws the land. On my next turn, I draw and play Burning Wish, which he Flusterstorms. The turn after, I draw Tinker which he has to Snapcaster Flusterstorm. The next turn Will resolves and we’re off to the races. He removes Demonic Tutor with Deathrite Shaman, but I already have Tolarian Academy, 5 artifact mana sources including Black Lotus, and a Burning Wish in the graveyard.
Round 2 vs. Tony Rogers (from Kalamazoo) playing BUG Tezzeret
I am able to storm him out without revealing that I am on the Oath of Druids plan.
I land an Oath of Druids, and he isn’t too psyched as he has Deathrite Shaman in play. He lands a Jace, but Brainstorms instead of bouncing the Shaman. A demon enters the battlefield, and then various copies of Tendrils of Agony enter the stack.
Round 3 vs. Geoff Moes (fellow Team Serious member, aka ThallidTosser) playing Mono Blue Dark Depths
I imprint a Griselbrand (this thing seemed to jump into my opening hands about 40% of my games this tournament) on a Chrome Mox and Thoughtseize him, revealing he doesn’t have much of anything. I play a land and Ponder, finding Oath of Druids. On turn 2 I land Oath, but unfortunately Griselbrand #2 is the forth card from the bottom of my deck, milling away all Burning Wishes. I am unable to just attack for the win, as he finds Echoing Truth and I scoop up while cursing his ability to draw his 1 out, and my deck’s shitty variance costing me a game.
I mulligan to 5 which includes Griselbrand again, and another turn 1 discard spell. I open with Duress, and Geoff reveals the trollingest hand of 4 Snow-Covered lands, Dark Depths, Thespian’s Stage, and Blightsteel Colossus. Apparently, a turn 5 kill with no action is good against Burning Oath. Two turns later I find and cast Oath. Naturally, the two cards he drew in his two draw steps are Force of Will and Intuition, so he counters Oath, and then beats me with a 20/20 as I am 1 mana away from dropping Griselbrand (which he revealed Mana Drain to, because why wouldn’t a player keep the worst possible opening hand, and then triple runner?).
I watch Jordi lose, and we start sharing our bad beats stories as he was one mana away from being able to cast everything in his hand against a pretty mediocre Bomberman board state (in the game next to me). I am pretty unhappy at how bad Geoff’s mulligan decision was, and I’m pretty sure the term “Fucking Idiot” came out of my mouth. Then, the douche to my right decides to open his mouth and says in a very rude and condescending tone “Stop being a prick dude, calm down.” I turn and say “stay out of my fucking conversation, I wasn’t fucking talking to you.” He says “take the tampon out,” words were exchanged, and I was about 3 seconds away from snapping and breaking this cocksucker’s face open. Thankfully, I didn’t. Note to the wise: If you’re a brain-dead and useless mongrel, don’t talk shit to a guy who is twice your size with six times the temper. This guy claimed he knew Geoff, so once the Soly Tilt-O-Meter was back down below 4 I walked over to chat with Geoff again, and after telling him my bad beat to him almost got me into a fight with a guy who he knows, and I point the douche out. Hilariously, Geoff says “I have no clue who that dude is!” Classic. Hopefully he will get hit by a bus.
Round 4 vs. Charlie Krug with Young Pyromancer
After battling through some counters, I land an Oath and bring out Griselbrand at a measly 4 life, surviving what would have been a lethal attack from his army on board. The next turn I swing, gain 7, draw 7, and hard cast Memory Jar. I immediately crack it to find a Burning Wish, Wish for Tendrils, and kill him with 1 card left in my library.
He plays an early Grafdigger’s Cage, and I resolve an Oath. I trigger Oath, and Griselbrand stays on top of my library. I draw it, and then turn many permanents sideways and Griselbrand hits play. I quickly storm him out.
Round 5 vs. Larry Griswald with RUG Delver
I fan open a ridiculous opener that quickly resolves Necropotence. Unfortunately, I draw absolute garbage (Griselbrands, 5 lands, Bargain, Memory Jar; no acceleration) and he ends up beating me. #NECROFAIL
*There’s a reason that shitter wasn’t in my Doomsday Deck*
I resolve an early Oath, and Griselbrand crushes him.
He plays an early Tarmogoyf. On turn 2, I lead with a Dark Ritual, which resolves, and then play an Oath of Druids, which resolves, and follow it up with Time Walk, which also resolves. I ended up destroying him from there. After the game, he shows me the Cage he had, as well as a Nature’s Claim.
Round 6 vs. Lodovico (Frank the Tank, who T8’d) with BUG Fish
He has a ton of control elements, and I make a ghastly play mistake which costs me the game. Fatigue started kicking in, and I am calculating a play that involves using the Tolarian Academy in my hand to cast Mind’s Desire. I Duress him, and the coast is clear. I cast Vampiric Tutor for Mind’s Desire, with 2 Moxes and a land open, and 7 total artifacts in play. I tap out to cast Wheel of Fortune, immediately realizing the Tolarian Academy isn’t in play. I end up passing the turn and eventually lose. #LePunts
I Duress away countermagic and land Oath for the win.
I am playing for a draw at this point as we’ve both gone back and forth with Duresses on my side, and permission on his. Unfortunately for me, I know that while we’re in the 5 turn extension if he finds a Time Walk I’m in big trouble. He of course does, and now my draw turns into hoping he doesn’t find Snapcaster Mage. He finds the Snapcaster Mage to take yet another turn, so I lose in turn 4 or 5 of turns, as Griselbrand again finds its way into my hand, instead of the Library or Battlefield where he belongs.
Round 7 vs. Nick Coss with Burning Tendrils
I win the die roll, and fan open a starting hand of Griselbrand, Lion’s Eye Diamond, a land, Demonic Tutor, Burning Wish, Dark ritual, and Vampiric Tutor. I go all in, but am 1 mana short from killing him with Tendrils. At this point, Bob Maher is making fun of me, joking about not being able to count, which I responded to by saying “at least I’m not forever immortalized on camera losing like you did to Finkel in 2000,” to which he replied “I’m fine with the $27,000 I got after the split,” and we all laughed. I cast Timetwister, and Duress him a couple more times. He has Ritual, Ritual, Lotus, Jet, Mana Crypt, Griselbrand, Griselbrand, so my Duresses plucked the Lotus and a Ritual. He draws and passes, but I can’t do much. He draws, casts Burning Wish for Show and Tell, and casts it. He throws Griselbrand into play, as do I. I am holding mine ready to bin it, but thankfully he says “new Legend rule.” I try to be sly about this even though in all reality I forgot about it, and they stay in play. Nick and I are being idiots, and we have quite the crowd gathered to watch. After drawing a bunch of cards and doing nothing else Nick thankfully starts counting to 7, and passes the turn. I draw 14, attack into Griselbrand with Griselbrand, and then kill him.
Kevin Cron got this picture which was also on Twitter with the following: #ThanksObama.
— Kevin Cron (@kevincron) August 16, 2013
Can we stop the black on black violence?!
I mulligan to 6, and keep the Chrome Mox, Imprint Griselbrand (obv), Dark Ritual, Duress, Thoughtseize hand on the draw. Nick has a turn 1 Duress and takes the Chrome Mox. I draw, attack for 1 with my new spirit token, and pass. This is where I say “No fear, I boarded into the spirit control deck.” Unfortunately, on my next turn I attack with two spirits, then he gets a 7/7. Stupid green enchantments! I have some consolidation when I say “I don’t think I could have mulliganed again” and Bob Maher agrees.
I open up with the plays of Lions Eye Diamond, Orchard, Ritual, Duress, Demonic Tutor (crack LED for three green in response to the Tutor), and cast Oath. He doesn’t draw an Orchard and I put a 7/7 in play that ends the game.
I end up getting 13th out of 86 I think, which was good for 6 packs of M14. Hurray!
Afterwards, I go out with Nick Coss, Josh Krause, Eric and Shannon from Xtreme Games, and a huge group of Xtreme Games locals to a local bar/restaurant, and have a good time. Nick buys me an Irish Car Bomb, and then I buy him, Eric, and Shannon a Lunchbox. He buys me a shot of straight Wiskey, in which I respond “Are we in a Drinking Contest?” Nick laughs and says yes, so I buy us and one of Shannon’s kids who just turned 21 a month ago a drink I enjoy called a Lap Bomb. It’s a Jager bomb with a double shot of vodka on top (editor’s note: #VALUE!). Nick starts saying he’s feeling it, and 5 minutes later when it’s time to get up, he’s proper drunk. He wants to draft, and I wanted to hang out, so we end up parting ways, and I find myself walking the 90 miles back over to The Alexander to party 1000% Serious Style. We end up drinking at the awesome hotel bar for a round, and ask the bartender to make us a drink. He gives us Fernet Branca, which Jaco introduced us to when we were at his crib for Grand Prix Chicago in November 2012, and happens to be one of his (and Jerry Yang’s) favorite drinks. JR and Sam head outside to smoke, and Twaun, a very inebriated Homer, and I join them. Homer insists on wanting to punch someone in the face. He keeps asking me to let him punch me in the face. I of course reject at first, thinking this is ridiculous. He and JR inform me that James King allowed this to happen. Those of you who know me know I am incredibly competitive. I couldn’t let James beat me in the “getting punched in the face by Homer” game, so I let him crack me across the jaw. Being wasted, Homer ends up clipping me in the ear. But then things get interesting, as he wants me to hit him in the face. For those of you who haven’t met me, I am 6’3″, and roughly 275 pounds, and work out regularly. Sam, being that he is drunk and loves to instigate, tried to get me to hit him. JR and Twaun play the voices of reason, though I wasn’t about to hit him anyway (because he would probably be knocked out instantly), but it was hilarious nonetheless seeing how absolutely frightened JR was at the possibility of me caving in Homer’s skull.
We hit the hotel room, party for about another 2-3 hours (taking some insane pictures; see below).
With the Serious crew still live and kicking into the wee hours of the morning I decide I need to head home to get some sleep, with the intention of going to the convention hall early to build my deck for the Saturday tournament, still with no idea whatsoever as to what 75 I would sling. To be honest, this is the tournament I want to win, as the prize is an uncut sheet of Saga, and also entrance to the GenCon Championship the following day. Don’t get me wrong, the 80 Pack draft was pretty sweet, but the GenCon Championship is a 16 man M14 sealed event with first place being $1,000 in Pastimes credit and also FREE VIG Package to GenCon 2014, including a free room, free VIG badge, and free events for all of GenCon 2014. I really wanted in on this event.
Seeing all of the decks yesterday and speaking with Sam, I felt that Doomsday would be well positioned, and obviously Sam agreed and was also playing Doomsday. I registered the following list, with European technologies of a Mountain and 4 Ingot Chewers in the board:
Round 1 vs. Camille Brunel with Young Pyromancer (4C Tempo)
He Lightning Bolts me in response to a Doomsday, and I assemble a Doomsday pile that allows me to draw a card without a Library and win the game.
He has a ton of permission, and I just cannot win before dying to his small creatures.
I go for the win, but my life total gets too low, and he ends up countering my last ditch Doomsday, and wins. Abrupt Decays, Bolts, and 14 counterspells are bad for me, and I don’t think I can beat them without a ridiculous hand.
Round 2 vs. Matt Ochs with Reanimator
I don’t remember much. This was his first time playing Vintage, and he ported his Legacy deck. He thought Mental Misstep was restricted, and Brainstorm was not, but that was discovered after his last match, so he informs me of a game loss to start our match. I talked with Sam Krohlow before the match and he told me his opponent had 4 Brainstorms, so though I didn’t know what deck he was on, I still felt bad, as I knew he just played Doomsday, and now he has to play it again.
I win on turn 3 with Lab Man. He almost got an Iona in play, which would have been bad. He was unpowered, but a really nice guy, and seemed to like Vintage. Interesting note – he was the only person I played all weekend in Vintage who was unpowered.
We played another game for fun, and I was able to storm him out before he gets Iona in again, thought I had to counter a Reanimate. He’s a really nice kid though, and I hope he gets to play more Vintage in the future.
Round 3 vs. Brian Potter with UBW Confidant Jace Vault
He is able to cast a really early Tinker, as I kept lands in hand with Fastbond in play, and couldn’t cast Dark Ritual and tap mana to Force of Will it. I die to Blightsteel Colossus a turn later.
I am able to cast a Yawgmoth’s Will and easily kill him without revealing that I am on Doomsday.
I cast Doomsday, but decide to put a Duress in my pile instead of Gitaxian Probe, going for a safer pass the turn pile as I have a feeling that going all in is tough. I pass the turn, but he doesn’t draw a removal spell, and I win during my draw step.
Round 4 vs. ? with MUD Stage-Depths Workshops
I knew a little about the deck, but not much, as he killed me quick with a 20/20 and didn’t show a Workshop or Ancient Tomb. I board in a couple Shop hate cards just in case, as I am not sure if the deck has that many pieces, thought I know from watching a bit of his Round 3 that he had some Tangle Wires and Thorns.
I win this game pretty handily after a Hurkyl’s Recall, I believe.
Ingot Chewer eats some Lodestones and Spheres. He has 2 Spheres in play, and then lands Crucible with Strip Mine in the graveyard. He strips my Volcanic, and I cast Gush in response. Thankfully, a couple turns later I Ingot Chewer the Crucible. I end up tapping 2 Seas and an Emerald to cast Ritual and tap my other two lands to cast Doomsday. I stack it Gush, Hurkyl’s Recall, Gush, Lotus, Laboratory Maniac. He draws the Dark Depths finally, and makes a 20/20 via Thespian’s stage. I kill him on my turn, thanks to the Sensei’s Divining Top that I had in play to trigger a draw post-Laboratory Maniac. This sequence was draw Gush, tap 2 duals, play Gush. Tap 4 lands to cast Hurkyl’s Recall, then cast another Gush for free, play Lotus, play Laboratory Maniac, and then tap the Top.
Round 5 vs. Nat Moes playing Regrowth Gush Tendrils Combo
I keep a hand with a Preordain, a Misstep, and a Duress. I Duress him, and he has a Time Walk, and not much else. Unfortunately, he Preordains twice in the next couple of turns, and is able to kill me. I probably should have Misstepped the Preordain he drew on turn 1, but I felt that it wouldn’t be very worrisome. The Misstep would later meet Nat’s own Misstep when I tried to counter Fastbond.
Game 2 & 3:
I assemble protection and Doomsday for the win both times with Duress or Thoughtseize backup. He tries to Surgical Extraction me in one of those games when my pile is Gitaxian Probe, Gush, Laboratory Maniac, Duress, Lotus. With a Gush in my hand, I figure I still have a good shot of winning, and I still do.
Round 6 vs. Sam Krohlow with Doomsday
We’re in a situation where the 12+ pointers go down to 9th place, and then there’s 9 pointers, and if the pair down loses, we’re all good to draw. Some of the 12’s that are paired are myself and Sam, and Kevin Cron and Twaun. Mark Lanigra (paired down) wins his match against Nat Moes, so we can’t draw. Thankfully, Sam and I are in game 3 when Twaun beats Kevin, signs the sheet, and hands it to the judge. I look at Sam and say “One 12 got knocked out; we can draw.” Sam agrees. We finish the game for the hell of it, and Sam was able to draw Brainstorm into a second Force of Will on top of the Force of Will and Flusterstorm I knew about to stop my draw spell after Doomsday, and then wins with his own Doomsday. But the draw is marked on paper and I slide into the Top 8 as 8th seed.
Interesting note: we both resolved Doomsday in all 3 games this match.
Top 8 Quarterfinals vs. Adrian Becker with Affinity Workshops
He smashes me with a very fast aggro draw and a timely Wasteland.
I mulligan to 3 on the draw, and he mulligans to 6. I play Lotus, Sapphire, pass with Gush in hand. He plays Mox Ruby, Mana Vault, Skullclamp, Signal Pest. He Clamps the pest, draws, frowns, and passes turn. I draw a land and pass, he draws and passes. I draw Mystical and pass, and he draws, plays a Mox, and passes back again. I Mystical for Recall on his end step, and a couple turns later win the game off the three extra card, a draw step, and a Ponder. It was the classic Doomsday into Gush pile of Recall, Force of Will (in case of Dismember), Gush, Lotus, Lab Man, Brainstorm (Probe was boarded out).
I don’t recall everything in this game, but after his mulligan and relatively weak opener I am able to beat him after and end of turn Hurkyl’s Recall.
Top 4 Semifinals vs Marc Lanigra (2012 Vintage Champion) with Grixis Control
I open with a land and pass, while he opens with Library of Alexandria. I play another land, Duress (seeing Spell Pierce, Mana Drain, a Nihil Spellbomb, a Jace, and other non-land cards). He draws, activates Library, and passes, being a bit mana bottlenecked. I look at my hand which already can kill him with Flusterstorm backup, so I Vampiric Tutor on his end step for a Gitaxian Probe so I can see his hand once more. The game ends via Laboratory Maniac shortly thereafter.
I Duress him at one point, seeing Spell Pierce, Mana Drain, and 2 Forces. He resolves a Vendilion Clique and sees Doomsday, Demonic Tutor, Lotus, Will in my hand. He takes the Will, and I draw a land. I try to break out of his counterspells. Eventually, I am at 1 thanks to the Clique, and have to mini-Tendrils for a storm of 6 to stay alive. I sat here for awhile thinking about if I should play the Ritual to gain an extra 4 storm (since I could play the Ritual and then something else), but if he Spell Pierces the Ritual I am 1 mana short, so I decide against it. He grinds me back down to 8, and at this point I have found Will again, so I attempt to cast it. He Forces (known), and I Force back. He has another Force I didn’t know about, and hard casts it. I have a black mana in pool and 2 untapped Seas, so I cast Doomsday, and set up a pass-the-turn Tendrils kill. The Doomsday drops me to 4, his ensuing Clique attack drops me to 1, and I kill him on the next turn.
With his Voltaic Key in play, he looks at the next card, and it’s his Time Vault. #BulletDodged
Finals vs. Jordi Amat Puig (piZZero, from Spain) with Forgemaster Workshops
Jordi really wants the uncut Urza’s Saga sheet more than any other prize. To be honest, with him on the play due to being first seed after Swiss, I figure I don’t have a favorable matchup, so I offer to give him the uncut sheet in a split if he gives me his From the Vault: Realms, and the entry to the GenCon Championship, which is what I wanted most anyway. He agrees, and we start playing.
There isn’t much of a game. He lands a Trinisphere turn 1 into Lodestone Golem turn 2. I draw a land so in theory can break out, but his ensuing Wasteland trumps that, and I scoop it up knowing that I am at 15, and need to draw land, land, Hurkyl’s Recall just to stand a chance, which is impossible as I only have 2 draw steps.
This is an interesting game that sees me Ingot Chew a ton of stuff, and Hurkyl’s Recall him twice. We get to a spot where I am at 14 and he’s at 6. He casts a Sundering Titan, which leaves me with Island and Lotus Petal. It’s awkward as I have an Ancient Grudge in my yard and a Ingot Chewer in my hand, and he has a Mana crypt in play. He sucks up 3 damage from Mana Crypt, then I suck 7 damage from Titan. He has a Grafdigger’s Cage and a Thorn in play, and then I play Tropical Island, but have to sacrifice the Lotus Petal to evoke Ingot chew on the Sundering Titan. This leaves me with zero permanents, and he quickly dies to Mana Crypt before finding another creature to kill me and race his Crypt. Kevin Cron points out we both earned Vintage Achievements; him for dying to his own permanent, and me for winning a game with no permanents in play.
I mulligan to 3 on the draw, and Jordi mulligans to an unimpressive 6. Somehow I’m able to stay alive in this game for quite a while on the back of basic lands and Ingot Chewers. I just need to find a second Underground Sea, so I can end step a Hurkyl’s Recall, then upkeep Vamp for Tendrils, cast Gush, and then Tendrils him for 6 life and win the game through Sphere, as his Ancient Tombs dealt a ton of damage. Unfortunately, I don’t get there.
Jordi grabs the uncut sheet, and we head out for dinner and drinks to celebrate at a taco and tequila bar called Bakersfield, which had a lively atmosphere and very good tacos. Jordi, Jaco, Cron, Sam, Twaun, Mitesh, and I end up chaining awesome margaritas into tequila shots before I head back to my hotel room and Team Serious heads to The Alexander for more beverages.
I get back to my room, and talk to some people about the limited format for awhile, before I go to bed. Unfortunately, I don’t even fall to sleep before one of the guys staying in my room comes home absolutely annihilated. He has two friends with him, who are also drunk (and couldn’t drive to their offsite hotel). They’re obnoxious, and if it wasn’t for the fact I was a guest, I would have probably punched one of them. I didn’t get any sleep. They were kicking each other on the ground, giggling, pouring water on each other, and being downright rude. Ahh, GenCon hotel rooms.
So it’s Sunday. I didn’t sleep, absent maybe about a 30 minute nap where I was able to doze off. After grabbing some breakfast I head over to the GenCon Championship M14 Sealed at 9am. The way this works is as follows:
16 Players; invite only (winners of Championship qualifier events). Everyone gets 12 packs minimum prize, and if you win first round you win a whole box. First place gets expenses paid trip to GenCon 2014 and $1,000 in Pastimes Credit.
I have only played 1 match of this format (at the Pre-release I went 1-0 drop to hang with the lady…when a girl texts you at 1:30 am, you don’t really need to contemplate night fun with the lady or Magic with the mongrels). My pool seems pretty sick:
The limited pool ordered by Rarity, Color (Lands/Artifacts/Black/Blue/Green/Red/White):
1 Devout Invocation
1 Haunted Platemail
1 Syphon Sliver
1 Megantic Sliver
1 Bonescythe Sliver
1 Seraph of the Sword
1 Shimmering Grotto
1 Accorder’s Sheild
1 Staff of the Flame Magus
1 Staff of the Mind Magus
1 Glimpse of the Future
1 Spell Blast
1 Warden of Evos Isle
1 Flames of the Firebrand
1 Volcanic Geyser
1 Young Pyromancer
1 Angelic Accord
1 Serra Angel
3 Accursed Spirit
1 Deathgaze Cockatrice
1 Festering Newt
1 Mark of the Vampire
1 Minotaur Abomination
1 Undead Minotaur
3 Essence Scatter
1 Frost Breath
1 Merfolk Spy
1 Nephalia Seakite
1 Sensory Deprivation
1 Time Ebb
1 Tome Scour
1 Wall of Frost
2 Brindle Boar
1 Elvish Mystic
1 Groundbreaker Sliver
2 Lay of the Land
1 Predatory Sliver
1 Ranger’s Guile
1 Verdant Haven
2 Blur Sliver
1 Lava Axe
2 Lightning Talon
1 Marauding Maulhourn
1 Seismic Stomp
1 Wild Guess
1 Charging Griffin
1 Master of Diversion
2 Pillarfield Ox
1 Pay no Heed
1 Show of Valor
1 Solemn Offering
I ended up building this:
Round 1 vs. Green/White
He hit 8 land drops in a row with a 4/4 that gets +4/+4 and Trample if he controls 8 or more lands. I mana flooded out, and even was able to cast Divination and Opportunity to try and hit one of my 4 ways to actually stop it, not counting my ability to Frost Breath it or play Wall of Frost, but didn’t.
I overran him with Seraph of the Sword equipped with Haunted Plate Mail.
After stabilizing Devout Invocation for 3 guys ended the game. I was about to live the dream of Essence Scatter the first dork he plays, end step Disperse the second, untap, cast Invocation (all with Pyromancer in play) but I attacked into an empty board with Pyromancer and a flyer, and he cast Savage Summoning to put a guy into play through my Essence Scatter.
So I’m guaranteed a box at this point. Sweet.
Round 2 vs. Green/Black
He was able to Corrupt me for the game when I declared blocks + Dispersed a guy to keep me alive at 1 life and him dead to my next attack.
We were both mana flooded, and I was able to Devout Invocation for 3 guys again, which promptly ended the game. I did get to live the dream of triggering Pyromancer for an extra 1/1 and 4/4 flyer with it.
He started missing land drops and I was able to end the game with Seraph. At one point he cast Wind Storm to kill my Seraph and another flyer, but I Disperse my Seraph. It buys him a turn, which isn’t enough.
In one of these games I cast 4 Essence Scatters and 2 Time Ebbs, thanks to Archaeomancer.
There are 4 players left at this point, and the judge informs us that last year, the two finalists tried to split and it was a nightmare, and there would be no prize split. I ask around, and find out that one guy apparently was unwilling to do an even split last year, and was trying to get the lopsided split in his favor. I ask the judge if everyone agrees, if we could just split the voucher, and play for the package. I argue this would be a real quick easy split that favors everyone equally, and we still have a prize to play for. He finds out we can, and all four of us agree to a $250 voucher for Pastimes, playing for the VIG package.
Round 3 vs. Green/Blue
I control the board and was able to win once I hit 6 mana, because my deck can do stupid things with lots of lands.
He crushed me with Water Servant as I am unable to find enough mana to stay in the game.
He is able to beat me when I get greedy. If I draw a land in my first 2 draw steps, I can play turn 3 Warden, turn 4 Seraph (If I draw 1 land, but miss another) and turn 4 or Serra Angel (if I draw 2 lands and 1 is a Plains). I had this with an Essence Scatter, Cancel, AND Disperse. Unfortunately, he has a nutty draw of turn 2 3/3, turn 3 3/3, turn 4 Water Servant, turn 5 Water Servant, and I miss plenty of lands drops. I finally put some blockers in the way, and he has the Frost Breath to seal the deal.
Regarding the Doomsday deck, I would never again want to play this deck after not picking it up for almost 2 full years. My mind was pretty fried by the end of the event. This isn’t to say I won’t pick up the deck, but rather to say I’ll probably be picking it up more often to keep my skills with it sharp.
I probably would have played Imperial Seal had I owned one. In my next version the main deck would probably have the following changes:
-1 Dark Ritual
-1 Mana Crypt
+1 Imperial Seal
I was able to turn my prize from this event and part of my prize from Saturday Vintage event into a Chinese Imperial Seal at the Pastimes Booth. I prefer Japanese cards only in my decks, and am able to strike a deal with fellow Team Serious teammate to trade my Chinese Seal plus a little cash for his Japanese Seal. I also am able to find 2 played Beta Regrowths for $20, which I am able to afford thanks to the other part of my prizes. So overall, my winnings are a Japanese Imperial Seal and 2 Beta Regrowths, which will soon be turned into Japanese Beta Regrowths.
I later catch up with Twaun and the rest of Team Serious and company, and we make some awesome Yu-Gi-Oh tokens (for Magic use), including intentionally miscut ones of our whole big Serious group, and then some individual tokens. This is one of the highlights of the GenCon exhibitor hall, and I encourage you all to check this out each year for free custom tokens.
And thus concludes GenCon 2013. Great friends, great games, and great times. Specifically, I really enjoyed talking to Richard Lessman (Pickle.69), Thomas Dixon (samoht), Nick Coss, Ryan Glackin, Kevin Cron, the entirety of Team Serious, and so many others I hung out with over the course of the weekend that I just can’t possibly name all of you. A special thanks to Keith Newyear, who was unable to make GenCon, and who lent out his full set of Power 9 to others (Sam, Jordi, etc.). His exact instructions are “I don’t care who uses it, but you’re responsible,” and love was felt all around. As Team Serious says, “we are friends, we have fun.”
@Sol_t1_MTG on the Twitter Machine
Still banned on The Mana Drain for being too awesome